Dear Friend,

Seven years is enough.  Obamacare has done the opposite of what President Obama promised it would, when he said, “You’ll find more choices, more competition, and in many cases, lower prices.” What we have seen instead was fewer choices, less competition, and skyrocketing premiums.

Nearly a third of counties in the entire country are down to just one insurer offering plans through the Obamacare exchanges. That is not choice. This year alone premiums have gone up by 25 percent, while families and job creators have faced $1 trillion in new taxes. That is not relief.

By sending decision-making authority to Washington and attempting to create a one-size-fits-all approach, President Obama and Nancy Pelosi took us down the wrong path and for seven years we have been paying the price. The United States is far too diverse to have its health system driven by a federal agency run by bureaucrats in Washington. The law has resulted in restricted provider networks which decrease access to care in areas like Mississippi where it is needed most. The broken promises about keeping your health care plan have put thousands of Mississippians in jeopardy. These hard-working families deserve relief from the harm inflicted upon them by a failing, unsustainable law. Obamacare was collapsing under its own weight.

Today, we turn the page on the damage that Obamacare has inflicted upon the American people. I am proud to say that today I voted to keep my promise to the people of Mississippi by repealing and replacing Obamacare once and for all. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) that passed the House this afternoon makes great strides towards reversing the devastation that Obamacare has wrought on the people of Mississippi and America.

Working hand-in-hand with President Trump’s administration, Republicans in Congress have delivered on the promise of a health care system that lowers costs, expands access, improves quality, and puts patients and families in charge of their care – this includes protecting patients with preexisting conditions and ensuring dependents up to age 26 can stay on their parents’ insurance.

There has been plenty of misinformation about this bill, so here is what you need to know:

First and foremost, the bill contains numerous protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The amended bill specifically clarifies that its provisions cannot be construed as allowing insurers to limit coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.  The law is clear: people will not be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. All of these protections will remain the law.

The AHCA restores pro-life principals by defunding Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the country, for one year by blocking more than $500 million federal dollars. It redirects the money to community health centers, which far outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics while protecting taxpayers from being forced to fund abortion. The following pro-life organizations have announced their support for the bill: National Right to Life, Concerned Women for America, Susan B. Anthony List, and Family Research Council. I am proud to stand up for the life of the unborn by voting for this legislation today.

One of the biggest challenges facing future generations is the rapid expansion of Medicaid. The program now has three times as many people and costs three times as much as it did under former President Clinton.  By expanding Medicaid, Obamacare prioritized able-bodied adults above those the Medicaid program was originally designed to help. The AHCA will historically reform Medicaid so that it is flexible and responsive to those it was created to serve. It ensures we don’t pull the rug out on anyone while also ending the Obamacare expansion that unfairly prioritizes able-bodied working adults over the most vulnerable.

Some additional quick facts on the legislation, the AHCA:

  • Dismantles the Obamacare taxes that have hurt job creators, increased premium costs, and limited options for patients and health care providers—including taxes on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, health-insurance premiums, and medical devices.
  • Eliminates the individual and employer mandate penalties, which forced millions of workers, families, and job creators into expensive Obamacare plans that they do not want and could not afford.
  • Helps young adults access health insurance and stabilizes themarketplace by allowing dependents to continue staying on their parents’ plan until they are 26.
  • Guarantees coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions and bans health insurers from charging a patient with pre-existing conditions higher premiums as long as they maintain continuous coverage, or sign up for new coverage within 63 days of exiting a previous insurance plan.
  • Establishes a Patient and State Stability Fund and Federal Invisible Risk Sharing Program, which provides states with $130 billion to design programs that meet the unique needs of their patient populations, help low-income Americans afford health care, and provide a backstop safety net for Americans with pre-existing conditions. This includes $15 billion specifically toward mental health, substance abuse, and newborn care.
  • Modernizes and strengthens Medicaid by transitioning to a “per capita allotment” so states can better serve the patients most in need. The Medicaid reform represents the biggest entitlement reform in a generation and puts the program on a sustainable fiscal path.
  • Protects current Medicaid beneficiaries receiving health care under the expansion by honoring the enhanced state match they have been receiving while working to redirect able-bodied adults to private health care so Medicaid can be refocused on helping the most vulnerable.
  • Empowers individuals and families to spend their health care dollars the way they want and need by enhancing and expanding Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)—nearly doubling the amount of money people can contribute and broadening how people can use it.
  • Helps Americans access affordable, quality health care by providing a monthly tax credit— between $2,000 and $14,000 a year for low and middle-income individuals and families who don’t receive insurance through work or a government program. Americans can use this tax credit to purchase private, quality coverage of their choice.
    (source: House Committee on Energy and Commerce)

As President Trump has stated, this will be a multistep process. There is no immediate silver bullet to fixing the broken Obama-era health care system, but the passage of this bill marks the first, but important step toward putting the American people first and bringing health care in to the 21st Century.

It is an honor to serve you in Congress.

God Bless,

Gregg Harper
Member of Congress